Game 124: Bulls 5, Knights 2
Games Left in Season: 20; Home Games: 10
If you love baseball then this was your night at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. If you missed the game then it’s really too bad, because this is the kind of night we live for. It had it all: Superb pitching, a couple of brilliant plays in the field, terrific at-bats, exciting base running. This was what a night at the park is all about.
Wade Davis pitched no-hit ball into the 6th inning when two doubles and a single got two runs across. But then he got a 1-2-3 7th and two outs in the 8th before he was pulled after walk and 111 pitches. Davis had two hit batsmen, which I take as a good thing. They appeared from my seat not to be loss of control, just letting a batter know who owned the inside of the plate. Also, in that last at-bat that went at least 8 pitches, his fastball was clocking 94 mph. Not bad. Dale Thayer got the last out of the 8th and worked through a small spot of trouble in the 9th, but got his 17th save. Dale seems to be back on track.
Pretty, pretty plays backing up the Davis and Thayer. In the 4th Chris Richard snatched a nasty hopping grounder out of the air and casually tossed it to Davis for the last out of the inning. Top of the 5th Ray Olmedo playing short went deep behind second to grab the ball and took that tiny fraction of a second he needed to balance himself and made a perfect throw to first base. For the last out of the inning Matt Joyce stretched himself out to pick a line drive off just above the ground. And at the top of the 9th Henry Mateo at second made a very tricky hop nearly into center field look like a routine grounder.
Lots of very cool stuff happened at the plate and on the base paths as well. Jon Weber got his 44th double (Trivia alert! The real Crash Davis, an infielder for the Carolina League Durham Bulls in 1948, set the team record of 50 doubles. Guess what’s going to happen in this blog if Jon hits 50 this year?), two singles, and one more bat into the stands, this one landing on the concourse just below my seat.
Fernando Perez led off the 5th with what for an ordinary human being would be a single landing in front of the Charlotte center fielder. I leaned over to the guy sitting next to me (not a regular at Bulls games, who didn’t know who Perez was). “Watch this,” I said. Sure enough, Perez didn’t even slow down rounding first base and slid into second with a double. This was after he he hit a grounder in the 2nd inning with men on first and second that should have been an easy double play ball, but Perez blew past the pitcher, who let the throw get past him and the runner on second scored on the error. Oh, yeah. He stole second after that.
And Joe Dillon hit the Bull to start the 4th inning! The first time that’s happened this year. Hope he enjoys his steak!
In all Bulls hitters got 5 hits and 4 runs off of rehabbing Cy Young winner Peavy and 6 hits and 1 run off of the other Knights starter who followed Peavey, Carlos Torres.
As I said at the top. A great night at the park.
I said that Crash Davis held the all-time Durham Bulls record for doubles. I was wrong. Woody Fair holds the record at 51 doubles. Record set in 1946 for the Carolina League Durham Bulls. . At the age of 32 and with 10 years minor league experience (missed 1944 and 45), Fair hit .348 in 139 games that year. Fair apparently never got above AA in the minors, but played for 17 seasons. Crash Davis’ 50 doubles in 1948 is a tie for second in the all-time list, with Frank Tauby (1930).